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Perugia's Palazzo Baldeschi exhibits Masterpieces

Dec 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Property of the Month

Artistic masterpieces gathered by two collectors from vastly different worlds are brought together for a major new exhibition in this Umbrian town.  Palazzo Baldeschi is hosting the show, which features around 50 pieces from the prestigious Phillips Collection of Washington and the Ricci Oddi Collection of Piacenza in northern Italy.

The masterpieces on display include works by some of the greatest European and Italian artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Pablo Picasso, Edouard Manet, Wassily Kandinsky, Giovanni Fattori and Umberto Boccioni.

Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) and Giuseppe Ricci Oddi (1868-1936) were born around the same time and both had a deep-rooted passion for art.  Over the years, they assembled magnificent collections, which they eventually made available to the public in the form of two important galleries, which both opened in the 1920s and can still be visited today.  But according to the prominent Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, who curated the exhibition, this was where the similarities ended.

Phillips started his collection at the turn of the century and had a particular passion for Parisian art, considered the centre of the art world at the time.  He acquired many works by Impressionist masters, such as Monet and Alfred Sisley, but also collected much older pieces, including paintings by El Greco.  However, Phillips was always particularly drawn to modernity and was later captivated by post-Impressionism and the avant-garde movement.

The works on display from the Phillips Collection include two striking paintings by Paul Cezanne, Manet’s Spanish Ballet, Vincent van Gogh’s House at Auvers, Picasso’s Woman with a Green Hat and Amedeo Modigliani’s famed 1917 Portrait of Elena Pavlowski.

Ricci Oddi, on the other hand, came from a traditional, noble family and was committed to the work of solely Italian artists.  He viewed avant-garde art with horror, once famously equating Futurism and Cubism with Bolshevism.  Yet despite his stated aversion to modernity, his instinctive eye for art led him to acquire works by groundbreaking Italian painters who later became famous.  In addition to paintings by Boccioni and Fattori, there are also some beautiful works by Giuseppe Pellizza, Massimo Campigli and Filippo De Pisis.  The exhibition also includes a ”bonus” section, featuring several pieces from the private collection of the Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia Bank, which has funded the show to mark its own centenary.

This selection features artwork by more traditional Italian greats, including Renaissance stars Pietro Perugino and Pinturicchio.

‘Corot to Picasso. Fattori to De Pisis’ runs in Palazzo Baldeschi until January 15.

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